Piromancer
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Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:16 am

I like to overclock my Pi 4s and 400 to their maximum stable CPU speeds. Coupled with adequate cooling (ArgonOne M.2 cases for my Pi 4s) overclocking makes a noticeable difference in responsiveness in daily use.

My question is what's the maximum stable overclocking speed that you have managed to get on your Pi 4 or 400?
By stable I mean no lock-ups or spontaneous reboots or what not. Just rock-solid, stable Pi goodness, even when under heavy real-world workloads like video trans-coding, compiling code, large-file compression, gaming etc. (instead of just stressberry testing for 24 hours).

For example, on my Pi 4 8GB running 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS, I run stable at 2.35GHz, even with all 4-cores maxed out.
On my Pi 400, I can squeeze out a bit more speed and run stable at 2.36 GHz, even under heavy load (that huge heat-transfer plate and Stepping C0 SoC really helps).

While my Pi 4 8GB can boot and run seemingly well at first at 2.38GHz, it will soon lock up when I start watching Youtube or Netflix in Full HD. But at 2.35GHz, it's stable as a can be. Same goes for my Pi 400; boots up fine at 2.38GHz, keels over the minute I put it under even moderate load. But at 2.36GHz, it runs like a well oiled machine even under heavy loads.

I have seen some (dubious) claims on Youtube of users running their Pi 4s or 400s at 2.4GHz or higher. While they may have struck silicon lottery with their SoCs, I suspect what they are reporting is the output of a simple lscpu or are using a program like hardinfo (sudo apt install hardinfo) to show their Processor details. See the screenshot below of hardinfo misreporting 2.36GHz as 2.40GHz. That's some rounding error!
hardinfo_processor_details.png
hardinfo's Processor details erroneously reporting 2.36GHz as 2.40GHz
hardinfo_processor_details.png (228.59 KiB) Viewed 14680 times

Instead, I rely on the output reported by watch -n 1 "vcgencmd measure_clock arm" for greater accuracy.
I use the following commands to show me a continuously updated reading of the CPU's speed as it goes up and down on demand, the CPU's temperature, the voltage used and the throttled status, plus memory consumption for good measure:

Code: Select all

watch -n 1 "vcgencmd measure_clock arm && echo && vcgencmd measure_temp && echo && vcgencmd measure_volts && echo && vcgencmd get_throttled && echo && free -h"
The output of the commands above shows the varying frequency of the ARM CPU as it ramps up and down its frequency range as needed.
vcgencmd_arm_100MHz.png
ARM CPU idling at a cool 100MHz
vcgencmd_arm_100MHz.png (36.97 KiB) Viewed 14567 times
vcgencmd_arm_2360MHz.png
ARM CPU ramped up to 2.36GHz when busy
vcgencmd_arm_2360MHz.png (38.38 KiB) Viewed 14567 times

Below are the settings I use on my Pi 400's /boot/config.txt file (I use the same settings for my Pi 4 8GB except I change arm_freq=2350).
This is shared here for information purposes only.
Your Pi may not be able to reach these speeds due to differences between manufacturing batches of the BCM2711 SoC.
If you are new to overclocking your Pi, maybe try a more conservative max clock speed setting like arm_freq=2000 and over_voltage=6, then iterate it up from there. Note that setting over_voltage=16 will result in no boot, so 15 is the highest setting you can dial it up to.

Note: If you set too aggressive overclocking settings and your Pi gets stuck and fails to boot, try doing a hard reboot and hold down the Shift key during startup. This bypasses the /boot/config.txt and allows you to get back to the Desktop to undo the changes. Alternatively, plug the boot media (microSD or SSD) into another computer and edit the /boot/config.txt from there.

*** WARNING: Overclocking your Pi 4 or 400's CPU at these extreme speeds may shorten the operating life of your Pi. Try at your own risk ***

Code: Select all

arm_64bit=1
initial_turbo=60
hdmi_enable_4kp60=1
over_voltage=15
arm_freq_min=100
arm_freq=2360
gpu_freq=750
gpu_mem=256
You need decent cooling if you are going to run at these speeds without crashing your Pi 4, and this usually means some type of fan and a decent sized heatsink. I have had great results with the Argon One M.2 cases. Note that that my Pi 400 is able to run at a sustained 2.36GHz for 10-12 hours at a stretch without locking up, thanks to the large metal plate beneath the keyboard acting as a heat spreader and the use of the newer C0 Stepping revision of the BCM2711 SoC. As for longevity, that remains to be seen. What I can tell from my experience so far is that my Pi 4 8GB has been overclocked to 2.35GHz since getting it back in May 2020 and my Pi 400 overclocked to 2.36GHz since I got it in November 2020.

Has anyone on this forum managed to get 2.4GHz (or higher) with their units and if so, has it been stable under heavy real-world loads?
Last edited by Piromancer on Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:14 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Running Windows 10 Pro 21H1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB. Also testing Windows 10 Insider Preview 21390.1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB (overclocked to 2.35GHz at 4K 60p) with 64-bit x64 Windows applications through the built-in x64 emulation layer.

aBUGSworstnightmare
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:34 am

What are your settings for 2.35GHz?
Seems you won twice at silicon lottery..

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:44 am

Nice over clocking, you might have got lucky.
Newer SoC on the Pi4? B or C version?

i don't bother, 1.5Hz on Pi4, 1.8GHz on Pi400.
Fast enough for me.
The Pi400 has a better heatsink by default.

Maybe there might be better process tuning or more yield testing and we get faster rated chips?
Standard 1.8 and 2.1GHz?
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Gavinmc42
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:47 am

i just noticed you are running 64bit.
I found info years ago on ARM's page aarch64 mod runs a bit cooler than 32bit.

If you want to try 32 bit OS it might not overclock as much.
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jahboater
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:46 am

Piromancer wrote:
Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:16 am
My question is what's the maximum stable overclocking speed that you have managed to get on your Pi 4 or 400?
By stable I mean no lock-ups or spontaneous reboots or what not. Just rock-solid, stable Pi goodness, even when under heavy real-world workloads like video trans-coding, compiling code, large-file compression, gaming etc. (instead of just stressberry testing for 24 hours).
Further, it should not approach throttling ("vcgencmd get_throttled" should report 0x0 at all times).
Its pointless overclocking to the extent that it overheats and slows down!

All Pi chips are different and each user has their own idea of what "stability" means in practice - and some users worry about the product lifetime.

For me, 2.1GHz / over_voltage 6 is unconditionally stable for a Pi4 running the 64-bit OS.
It remains cool (mid 60's under sustained heavy load) in a metal case with no fan.

While over_voltage 6 seems a lot (to me), the Pi Zero model is essentially a Pi1 factory overclocked to 1GHz using over_voltage 6.

As for lifetime, I predict the Pi5 will be released decades before my Pi4's expire.

Piromancer
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:46 am

aBUGSworstnightmare wrote:
Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:34 am
What are your settings for 2.35GHz?
Seems you won twice at silicon lottery..
I use the following settings on my Pi 4 8GB's /boot/config.txt:

Code: Select all

arm_64bit=1
initial_turbo=60
hdmi_enable_4kp60=1
over_voltage=15
arm_freq_min=100
arm_freq=2350
gpu_freq=750
gpu_mem=512
The primary enabler is daring to boost the over_voltage setting to 15 (use a setting of 16 and you get no boot), and dealing with the consequences if they occur.
Another setting that helps is setting arm_freq_min to 100MHz. This lowers the floor that the SoC can clock-down to during idle, helping to lower heat build-up whenever 2.35GHz is not needed. This does cause a sub-nanosecond transition latency (see the screenshot of hardinfo in my OP) as it switches from a low of 100MHz up to a high of 2.35GHz, which might not be desirable in certain timing-sensitive cases like retro-gaming.

I can detect no discernible performance advantage to clocking gpu_freq to any higher than 750MHz, as I think the CPU's max clock rate plays a bigger part in general responsiveness.

On an 8GB Pi 4, I have RAM to spare, so I tend to set gpu_mem to 512MB. For example, on my Pi 4 8GB home theatre unit, I find that the web UIs for Netflix, HBO GO and Disney+ are more responsive with 512MB. Doesn't make an iota of difference with Youtube though.
However, on a 4GB Pi 4, I never go higher than 256MB for gpu_mem, and sometimes even use 128MB, because on a RAM-constrained 4GB model, the more RAM you can give the CPU to use, the longer you can avoid hitting the swap file.
Running Windows 10 Pro 21H1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB. Also testing Windows 10 Insider Preview 21390.1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB (overclocked to 2.35GHz at 4K 60p) with 64-bit x64 Windows applications through the built-in x64 emulation layer.

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jahboater
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:02 am

Piromancer wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:46 am
Another setting that helps is setting arm_freq_min to 100MHz. This lowers the floor that the SoC can clock-down to during idle, helping to lower heat build-up whenever 2.35GHz is not needed. This does cause a sub-nanosecond transition latency (see the screenshot of hardinfo in my OP) as it switches from a low of 100MHz up to a high of 2.35GHz, which might not be desirable in certain timing-sensitive cases like retro-gaming.
I set arm_freq_min to 400MHz for the same reason.

I'm not sure about this "sub-nanosecond" latency figure. The transition may take that time, but the OS must take much longer.
The OS scaling governor needs to measure the CPU usage within some interval to decide when to increase the CPU clock rate.
So I think the CPU must remain at the low clock speed for milliseconds.

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cr_chsn1
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:25 am

Piromancer wrote:
Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:16 am
Has anyone on this forum managed to get 2.4GHz (or higher) with their units and if so, has it been stable under heavy real-world loads?
2.4 GHz on RPi4B and 2.5 GHz on CM4, but with sub-zero temperatures.
On the RPi4B 2.4 GHz was stable under heavy load (3+ hours x264 encoding) and the CM4 was able to work at 2.5 GHz.

Unfortunatelly 2.5 GHz is the current limit. The C0 can go way higher IMO.
Just waiting until the max. clock of the PLLB is raised.
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drtechno
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:28 am

cr_chsn1 wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:25 am
2.4 GHz on RPi4B and 2.5 GHz on CM4, but with sub-zero temperatures.
On the RPi4B 2.4 GHz was stable under heavy load (3+ hours x264 encoding) and the CM4 was able to work at 2.5 GHz.

Unfortunatelly 2.5 GHz is the current limit. The C0 can go way higher IMO.
Just waiting until the max. clock of the PLLB is raised.
Well 2.5G on a RISC architecture is equivalent to 4.7G on an intel style that the pc enthusiast overclock.

Keep in mind this is a different processor architecture and treats the clock differently.

Piromancer
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:37 am

cr_chsn1 wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:25 am
Piromancer wrote:
Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:16 am
Has anyone on this forum managed to get 2.4GHz (or higher) with their units and if so, has it been stable under heavy real-world loads?
2.4 GHz on RPi4B and 2.5 GHz on CM4, but with sub-zero temperatures.
On the RPi4B 2.4 GHz was stable under heavy load (3+ hours x264 encoding) and the CM4 was able to work at 2.5 GHz.

Unfortunatelly 2.5 GHz is the current limit. The C0 can go way higher IMO.
Just waiting until the max. clock of the PLLB is raised.
Now this is what I'm talking about! Respect for the use of sub-zero temps (liquid nitogen?). Fantastic.
Any chance you could share some pics of your liquid-cooling rig with us mere air-cooling users?
Running Windows 10 Pro 21H1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB. Also testing Windows 10 Insider Preview 21390.1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB (overclocked to 2.35GHz at 4K 60p) with 64-bit x64 Windows applications through the built-in x64 emulation layer.

Piromancer
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:48 am

[/quote]
Just waiting until the max. clock of the PLLB is raised.
[/quote]

I know a bit of what a Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) does, but what the heck is a PLLB?
Running Windows 10 Pro 21H1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB. Also testing Windows 10 Insider Preview 21390.1 ARM64 on a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB (overclocked to 2.35GHz at 4K 60p) with 64-bit x64 Windows applications through the built-in x64 emulation layer.

cleverca22
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:15 pm

Piromancer wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:48 am
Just waiting until the max. clock of the PLLB is raised.
I know a bit of what a Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) does, but what the heck is a PLLB?
https://elinux.org/The_Undocumented_Pi

PLLB is where the arm gets its clock from
PLLC is where the VPU/GPU and a lot of peripherals get the clock
PLLH is for hdmi
and PLLA/PLLD for DSI

most peripherals can also get their clock from any PLL, but the firmware prefers using PLLC


the pi4 has also changed things, and its not been fully mapped out yet

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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:32 pm

My pi400 /boot/config.txt

arm_freq=2147
arm_freq_min=500
gpu_freq=750
over_voltage=8
disable_splash=1
force_turbo=1

Temps hover around the mid 40s. Only time it goes in the mid 50s is when watching a Youtube video.
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cr_chsn1
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:21 pm

Piromancer wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:37 am
Now this is what I'm talking about! Respect for the use of sub-zero temps (liquid nitogen?). Fantastic.
Any chance you could share some pics of your liquid-cooling rig with us mere air-cooling users?
My old (almost 20 years) single stage phase change cooler at around minus 40 °C was used.
And I see my RPi4B with stable 2.4 GHz had only 1.05 V VDD_CORE, so I guess 2.5 GHz with +50 mV is possible, like at the CM4.

Some pictures can be found here:
RPi4B: https://www.raspiced.com/blog/2021/2021 ... /#sub-zero
CM4: https://www.raspiced.com/blog/2021/2021 ... new-record

Normally active air-cooling is more than enough for 2.2 - 2.4 GHz, maybe a little less for daily usage and "production" services.
My attempts are just a hobby to spend some time tinkering with hardware, learning something and very important, get my head free.
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Brontobyte
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:11 am

craigevil wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:32 pm
My pi400 /boot/config.txt

arm_freq=2147
arm_freq_min=500
gpu_freq=750
over_voltage=8
disable_splash=1
force_turbo=1

Temps hover around the mid 40s. Only time it goes in the mid 50s is when watching a Youtube video.
Wait a minute.
Doesn't the use of force_turbo=1 cause the ARM CPU to always run at the speed set by arm_freq=2147 (or 2.147 GHz)?
As I understand it, using force_turbo=1 prevents the CPU from lowering its frquency even during idle times, causing it to run hotter than necessary.
Also, doesn't force_turbo=1 negate the purpose of having arm_freq_min=500?
I mean, how is the CPU going to lower its frequency to 500MHz if you also tell it to run at 2.147GHz all the time?
Last edited by Brontobyte on Tue Jun 08, 2021 9:21 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:35 pm

Brontobyte wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:11 am
craigevil wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:32 pm
My pi400 /boot/config.txt

arm_freq=2147
arm_freq_min=500
gpu_freq=750
over_voltage=8
disable_splash=1
force_turbo=1

Temps hover around the mid 40s. Only time it goes in the mid 50s is when watching a Youtube video.
Wait a minute.
Doesn't the use of force_turbo=1 cause the ARM CPU to always run at the speed set by arm_freq=2147 (or 2.147 GHz)?
As I understand it, using force_turbo=1 prevents the CPU from lowering its frquency even during idle times, causing it to run hotter than necessary.
Also, doesn't force_turbo=1 negate the purpose of having arm_freq_min=500?
I mean, how is the CPU going to lower its frequency to 500MHz if you also tell it to run at 2.147GHz all the time?
also, 2147mhz was a special number to work around a bug that no longer exists
it depending on the silicon lottery, it may be possible to go faster

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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:12 pm

cr_chsn1 wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:25 am
Piromancer wrote:
Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:16 am
Has anyone on this forum managed to get 2.4GHz (or higher) with their units and if so, has it been stable under heavy real-world loads?
2.4 GHz on RPi4B and 2.5 GHz on CM4, but with sub-zero temperatures.
On the RPi4B 2.4 GHz was stable under heavy load (3+ hours x264 encoding) and the CM4 was able to work at 2.5 GHz.

Unfortunatelly 2.5 GHz is the current limit. The C0 can go way higher IMO.
Just waiting until the max. clock of the PLLB is raised.
I call BS.
I'm clocked at 2250 on a CM4 - can't go higher. no matter of what over_voltage I do.
You definitely won the silicon lottery if you're hitting 2500......
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jamesh
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:33 pm

thatchunkylad198966 wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:12 pm
cr_chsn1 wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:25 am
Piromancer wrote:
Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:16 am
Has anyone on this forum managed to get 2.4GHz (or higher) with their units and if so, has it been stable under heavy real-world loads?
2.4 GHz on RPi4B and 2.5 GHz on CM4, but with sub-zero temperatures.
On the RPi4B 2.4 GHz was stable under heavy load (3+ hours x264 encoding) and the CM4 was able to work at 2.5 GHz.

Unfortunatelly 2.5 GHz is the current limit. The C0 can go way higher IMO.
Just waiting until the max. clock of the PLLB is raised.
I call BS.
I'm clocked at 2250 on a CM4 - can't go higher. no matter of what over_voltage I do.
You definitely won the silicon lottery if you're hitting 2500......
Also depends on revision of the PCB, latest ones *might* go higher.
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:35 pm

jamesh wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:33 pm
thatchunkylad198966 wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:12 pm
cr_chsn1 wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:25 am


2.4 GHz on RPi4B and 2.5 GHz on CM4, but with sub-zero temperatures.
On the RPi4B 2.4 GHz was stable under heavy load (3+ hours x264 encoding) and the CM4 was able to work at 2.5 GHz.

Unfortunatelly 2.5 GHz is the current limit. The C0 can go way higher IMO.
Just waiting until the max. clock of the PLLB is raised.
I call BS.
I'm clocked at 2250 on a CM4 - can't go higher. no matter of what over_voltage I do.
You definitely won the silicon lottery if you're hitting 2500......
Also depends on revision of the PCB, latest ones *might* go higher.
I'm no good with hardware, I'm more of a software dude; PCB?
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:24 pm

thatchunkylad198966 wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:35 pm
I'm no good with hardware, I'm more of a software dude; PCB?
PCB = Board (Printed Circuit Board)
Unreadable squiggle

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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:36 pm

rpdom wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:24 pm
thatchunkylad198966 wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:35 pm
I'm no good with hardware, I'm more of a software dude; PCB?
PCB = Board (Printed Circuit Board)
Oh, thank you!
Mine is REV 1.0......
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Gavinmc42
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:44 pm

Also depends on revision of the PCB, latest ones *might* go higher.
That's an interesting piece of info, is there a way to tell without disassembly?

Never bothered to overclock but a Pi400 at 2GHz as standard?
Does the SoC/PCB needed extra qualification at higher freqs?
Many overclockers seem to be pushing more than 2GHz.
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thatchunkylad198966
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:07 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:44 pm
Many overclockers seem to be pushing more than 2GHz.
Yep.

CM4: 2250000 2250000 2250000 2250000
RPI4B: 1900000 1900000 1900000 1900000

Both are stable under a stress test.

How do I find out the PCB revision? REV 1.0 isn't the same, right?
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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:00 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:44 pm
Many overclockers seem to be pushing more than 2GHz.
Yes.
I tend to be rather conservative with overclocking, I like to have a good margin of safety to avoid throttling or possible instability.
But for some time now I have been running a Pi4 at 2.1GHz with never a problem.
It doesn't throttle under any workload and is unconditionally stable.
Very happy to get an extra 600MHz free!
Makes quite a difference to build times and the workflow.

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Re: Maximum stable overclocking speed of a Pi 4 or 400

Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:04 am

Have not used Hardinfo for decades, cool it runs on Pi's
Overvolt 2, freq 2000, raised temp about 4 degrees to 32C.

At the old setting the Pi400 was a bit faster than the Core Duo it replaced. ;)
At 2000 it is 33% faster than my Pi4's, they get a bit warmer as they have a tiny added heatsink and no fan.
32C seems pretty low, guess I need to wait 6 months for summer to heat stress it some more.
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